Kill Bill Vol 1- Johnny Mo's swords.

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Damndrew, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    Hey all, Sorry if I sound weird I'm still pretty new to the forums. I've been working on my Kill Bill Johnny Mo's swords for a while. I'm putting this up as a thread of:
    A. Look at how cool this is.
    B. Showing the work in progress and eventually as a howto.
    C. Most immediately to enlist help as I'm not sure I can tell what the length of the sword is.

    Sometimes I measure and have each handle being just over 15 inches long and other times its just over 18 inches. Each handle of course is the scabbard of the other side’s blade. So in grand total when they are combined the total length is somewhere in the realm of 31 to 37 inches, 2.583 to 3.08 feet.
    Hopefully someone can narrow it down further for me. I’m shooting for accuracy after all. If not I’ll err on the side of length 3 feet feels closer than 2.5 but it’s difficult to tell.

    I know (because Adam Savage says so) that often there are more than one prop used for different parts of the scene. It is even likely that the staff version before he reveals it as swords may be different than the two swords he has.

    So here are the pics I'm trying to use as references. No judgements for the liberal use of ms paint I gotta use what is available to me. and Im trying to keep the pricetag for this prop under $200 including the tools I needed to buy to make it (Dremel, bits etc. coping saw etc.)

    Editted: forgot to put up the link to the youtube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bD5TMdAtmQs

    01-23-11c- the pull apart.jpg 01-23-11d- the pull apart 2.jpg z2.jpg z3.jpg Size again.jpg zoe bell featurette 01-13 size.jpg 01-28-28 blade width and point shape.jpg blade to handle ratio.jpg 01-24-41 draw.jpg cap length 01-22-03.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  2. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    Iteration A was a 1.5 inch poplar dowel that I was going to cut into thirds. I still think that it will be awesome to do it that way. But Poplar is a hard wood to cut straight with no mistakes. I don't have access to a band saw but I think that's what it'd take. I did chalk line it and it was easy to transpose the lines on the end from graph paper with a sharpie.
    so since I couldn't cut it with the tools at hand and if i could cut it I didn't relish the idea of carving out the scabbards in that really hard wood with a hand chisel I switched to a softer wood for iteration B

    001 (3).jpg mo and drew.jpg 002 (2).jpg IMG_20150709_165239300.jpg IMG_20150709_165254621.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  3. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    the Re: Kill Bill Vol 1- Johnny Mo's swords.

    iteration B was pine craft boards, they are 1.5x.5x36 inches (I could probably get away with 1.5x .5x28 inches but I'm unsure as to the length per side so wanted to err on the side of caution) so I don't have to cut them into the thirds. I drew on the parts and am in process of carving out the scabbards and the tangs. I still need to sand the blades (the darker wood cut down to an inch wide and 1/4 inch thick) and shape them into the proper shape. I adjusted the blades back by a 16th of an inch so they are closer to the back than the front.

    I may need to get a power sander to get the rest of the sanding done. That is the next investment in this project. I sort of mentioned that I started this project not having any of the tools to accomplish it. I'm still on course for an under $200 dollar price tag.

    024.jpg 001.jpg 003.jpg 004.jpg 016.jpg 017.jpg 021.jpg 020.jpg 023.jpg 024 (2).jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2015
  4. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    The blades are ready to be cut, then start sanding the taper.



    Blades (3).jpg Blades (4).jpg Blades (6).jpg Blades (7).jpg Blades (2).jpg Blades (1).jpg Blades (5).jpg
     
  5. Chaank

    Chaank Well-Known Member

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    Cool project man. I'm sure you have thought about the fact that this is most likely not just one prop but a couple of different ones to create the effect. For me that is reason enough to try anyway! lol. Is there a reason you have a gap between the blades? If you use thicker bits of wood and counter ink screws you could fit them right next to each other. Just a preference but that's what I would do.

    Also, I shape the blade first when I make knives, then do the dressing. Again just a preference but it is the best way to keep everything tight in the final fit.

    One other tip if you are really keen. If you have a automotive spring builder near by, ask them if they ever do knives. Most of them do every once in a while and might like something a little left field to break the monotony. Folks like to whine on about how many times a sword has been folded and various other knife making myths but a properly hardened and tempered spring steel blade will hold up to some of the best.

    Nice work so far man, I'll be watching this unfold!:cheers
     
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  6. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    Thanks Chaank, I am also 98% Sure that it is more than one prop.
    I've never worked with metal and was really hesitant to try on my first prop project. As I have to get all the tools to make things I decided to go with wooden blades so I only had to purchase woodworking tools, instead of both metal-working and woodworking stuff. My main goal was to keep it under $200 US tools included (of course that got blown out of the water today when my dremel died and I had to purchase a new one, and an upgrade-- I'll send the old one back for service and keep it as a backup-- I'll still be under $250 around $225).

    It is possible that the blades are really close together (They are only 3/8s of an inch apart now). I simply went as close as I felt comfortable with I was worried that with my inexperience and lack of all the proper tools I should not cut anything too close. I have been thinking about what you said though and have been trying to err into that 3/8s of an inch between blades as opposed to the 5/16s of an inch on the outside of the blades.
    A more centered blade would be balanced better which is obviously a large goal but... As its the first try I'll chalk that up to a learning experience.
    There is nothing to say that the tang of the one blade can't be the inside side wall of the others scabbard, especially if they are metal blades as the should be in a more accurate iteration.... I'm really having difficulty with some of the terms in this project though I hope you understand "inside (interior) wall of the other blade's scabbard.

    I don't think Maine has any auto spring makers. I am not after functionality of the swords. metal unsharpened blades would be cooler than the wood ones I'm going for but I'm not all that fussed myself I'd even consider molded fiberglass or whatever I've seen threads about (but as I'm focusing on wood working tools wood seemed easiest. If someone wants to do functional ones and they use this thread to figure it out, then Rock on!
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    Anyway progress has been made one scabbard is done and the blades are shaped well (enough anyway, I'm at the point if I work on them anymore I'll mess 'em up). I started (but its slow going) the shaping of the handles. I know that some of the shots really suggest a cylindrical piece (and I'm sure one of the props in the movie is probably cylindrical) I'm going for a non circular version from a freeze frame from the movie in this version anyway.

    you know I'm not sure its circular- 01-24-41.jpg 002.jpg 003 (2).jpg 004 (2).jpg 005.jpg 006.jpg 007.jpg
     
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  7. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    More progress.
    The blades go into their scabbards and the tangs are held well in their handles. The staff when the two sides are together, is pretty stable and feels pretty good
    the next step is to sand the shape of the handles. I rubberbanded the handles together to see what they will feel like after they've been glued together.
    I'm pretty happy the swords look like swords (if a bit unfinished) and drawing the swords from their scabbards feels really good (close to what I want).


    006.jpg 007 (2).jpg 008.jpg 009.jpg

    I do have to sand a bit more. maybe three days of so... as I can only sand every other day or thereabouts and only for 1-3 hours each on those days. It'd also be quicker if you have access to a belt or power sander, but I'm on the dremel, and/or sand paper and my hands, so it'll take longer.


    011.jpg 012.jpg 013.jpg 014.jpg

    after that is done I have to glue and screw the tang sandwiched between the middle and outside piece.
    I also have to metalicize the blades.
    I'm not sure which of those will have to come first.
    after that I have to glue the scabbard to the middle which I have to admit is making me nervous to think about.
    then I have to make my first foray into staining/clear coating the handles...
    and somewhere in all of that or at the end (or something) I have to figure out the copper caps. The copper bands at the middle and the hibaki (blade collar) are going to be fast and dirty; I'm using copper slug tape for those.

    More to come folks, feedback please- anyone with wood gluing experience please give tips and tricks I'll need all the help I can get.
     
  8. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    So I sanded further down I'm about at the point where I'm going to switch over to hand sanding. I'm about to put the dremel tool down (for a bit).
    I drilled and recessed the holes for the screws. Three on each side Top middle and bottom and the tang should be secured. I used the drill bit to drill through the middle section and lined up that hole with the hole I'll drill in the tang. I used the wood cutting tool to allow for the bevel of the screw heads. I did a dry run in there and it looks like it'll be good.

    019.jpg 020.jpg 022.jpg 021.jpg

    Those are the screws I found in my tool box. They are 3/4 inches. the middle section is sanded down maybe 1/8 inc and I don't want the screw to go through the outside of the handle (through the tang and enough into the tang side of the handle to secure it but not THROUGH it to the outside and where it can poke my hand).


    025.jpg 026.jpg 023.jpg 024.jpg

    I did sand further to where the guidelines of the last post showed. It is really easy for the user to find the front after losing track moving the staff around. The F (for front) picture you can see the almost immediate drop off after the middle section. On the B (for back) picture you can see that half the width of the outside section (1/4 inch each) before the taper begins. The back feels like rounded corners and the front feels like a grip in your hand. The side pics show the taper more I rubber banded them up again to play around and see how it feels spinning around the way its done in the movie.

    Next steps are using aluminum metal tape on the blades and the glue and screw of the blades into their handles.
     
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  9. Chaank

    Chaank Well-Known Member

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    Hey Damndrew, Sorry to not get back to you. It's crazy times here. Really sweet work so far man. I think you are doing a great job. I will keep watching this unfold for sure...:)
     
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  10. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    Thanks Chaank I appreciate the support.

    Do you know much about wood-gluing the scabbard together. it is about the next step. If I get a bead of glue on the inside of the scabbard and it dries and blocks the swords I'm screwed. I really hope that doesn't happen. I just'll have to be careful and hope for the best.
    003.jpg 004.jpg 004.jpg
    006.jpg 007.jpg 008.jpg
    009.jpg
    I got the blades attached to the handles countersinked the screws like you suggested and it holds up pretty well. I made the video here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtTaIEg4wmo&feature=youtu.be) to show how the draw works and what not. It's cool to have a fluid (non static) representation of the work in progress to put up.


    I did get the aluminum tape on the blades today after making the video and taking the pictures so that is another step off my list. After the last of the sanding that needs to be done, then gluing is my next step and I am nervous about it. At least I can do that on my usual nocturnal schedule, My neighbors tend to frown upon sanding wood with a dremel after 9 pm.
    aluminum-metal-tape.jpg
     
  11. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    Took pictures of the blades now that they are metalized (metalicisized? metalicized? aluminized? I guess all those words aren't actual words). I used the same method Adam Savage used in his Tested Hero Sword Video.
    I still have some sanding to do before glue time.

    The distance on the blades from edge to edge while scabbarded (scabbarding? I'm making up words today) is half an inch which I don't think I planned I think it just happened. I ended up sanding down the inside section a lot more than I was originally planning.

    silverized (1).jpg silverized (2).jpg silverized (5).jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
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  12. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    Ok Some major progress last night and today. a few days ago I got everything sanded and cleaned up for glueing. I glued them last night. I was really nervous about getting to much glue possibly messing up the scabbard blocking the blades from being able to go in. but I'm super impressed with old elmers wood glue a little dab'll do ya. I didn't have clamps but as rubberbands served to keep it together pre gluing I used em for clamps for the glueing. I couldn't be happier with the outcome. I did need to sand some of the gunk that ended up on the outside but that was easy-peasey
    014.jpg 015.jpg 016.jpg

    Today I sanded them down and started work on the copper caps.

    I had one copper cap when I made the initial purchases, so I could stare at it and think about what needed to be done to make it look like the caps in the movie.
    The caps in Lowes are plumbing copper caps 1.5 inches. That is 1.5 inches on the inside not the outside. my project requires 1.5 inches on the outside. so I needed to pick up some grinding wheels for metal grinding for the dremel along with the second cap. The two grinding stones about 2.75 or 3 bucks a piece were one short and stout one (dremel code 8193) and a tall skinny one (dremel 932) the stout one for the deep inside so the dremel stem wouldn't hit the sides of the cap and the skinny one for the inside edge and to clean up the outside. I used the excess wood scraps I cut off from the handles (when I made them 19 inches) and screwed them together and sanded them into roughly handle shape and used that as a guide and anvil horn (? is that the right term?) to hammer the circular caps into the right shape. I needed of course to sand the handle bottoms down as well. I am really flipping happy about the results.

    020.jpg 021.jpg
    some pics with the home made shaping thing too.
    019.jpg 018.jpg 022.jpg

    I'm going to see about glueing the caps on to the handles. I'm not sure wood glue is the proper thing if not I'll go to epoxy jb weld or liquid nails. etc. then I need to blade collar and copper slug tape the tops
    the next big thing is clear coating it. I need to rewatch the kill bill Johnny Mo clip to see if it is gloss matte or in between.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2015
  13. Chaank

    Chaank Well-Known Member

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    Looking good man!
     
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  14. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    Ok so its being weird about the attachments let me try again if it works this will be a duplicate post
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  15. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    Oops... so this is the post where I tell you about the three mistakes I made... amateur stupid mistakes.

    Number one- the most fixable one (but since the others are less fixable the lowest priority) I was fitting the caps on and showed my girlfriend (aka my extra tester) and she sheathed the blades and the tip of the blade went in enough to make a pong sound against the copper cap... I cut a cm or so off the tip and then reground the blades except I got a little to happy grinding and the blade got wonky. then I tried to fix that and the blade doesn't match the other one or the pics from the movie any more. Grrr. anyway that is fixable I can grind the end flat and put a shim on easy-peasy.

    However I'm discouraged to get on that fix because of the next two problems:
    Problems 2 and 3 are related. they fall under the obvious heading measure twice cut once, because I didn't in two different ways. If they are fixable I haven't figured it out yet. but its not too too bad. Its just annoyingly off enough to bother me.
    Problem 2 I wanted to sand down the ends so I could put the copper tape on the ends (or the middle of the staff where the handles meet or the staff divides) well it turns out I didn't need to sand at all the thickness of the copper tape is beyond negligable. I don't know what it would measure if you measured the thickness with a micrometer but it would be minisucule. as my next step was/still is to clear coat the wood the thickness of the clear coat is comparable to the thickness of the copper tape. So any sanding I did would be too much sanding but I over sanded on top of that. Grrr... number two.
    01-22-05.jpg copper slug tape.jpg

    Problem 3 is on top of the other one the band in the middle is a lot thinner than the copper tape I was using (I think about 3/4s inch while the tape appears to be 1.5 or 1.25) I rushed into that part of the project before I checked to see if the measurements were correct. So the tape is too wide and I could've very easily cut a portion of it off. and not have the problem I'm facing now. so basically the band in the middle is too wide to be screen accurate. and I don't have the ability to put more wood back on.

    Oh well lesson learned. It is inspiring my brain to roll around and think about version 2.0 of the sword and I'm not discouraged enough to give up on this one.
    This one still feels really good. and part of the fun is to pretend to be a yakuza general while still being a grown man. so feeling good is a very good thing.

    050.jpg
    the blade collar is on now. in the stills I've found I did not see a copper blade collar on there. so I used the same aluminum tape as on the blades and wrapped around again to make things really snug you can hold it upside down and even give a little twirl to it and it wont dislodge (it will on a big twirl almost had a sword flying across the room). it still comes apart easily when you pull it.


    Here's the product as it stands now.
    045.jpg 046.jpg 047.jpg 049.jpg


    048.jpg this pic shows the gap from over sanding for the copper tape. This is after I've wrapped the tape a dozen times to try to build it back up.

    The next step is to clear coat it. you can tell from the screen shot of the movie up top that there is a little sheen but not a significant amount. I think that is what is refered to as satin finish clear coat. so that's what i'm going for next. Then I think Version 1.0 is finished and we'll have to see about brainstorming more on 2.0. maybe a metal blade version as Chaank recommended. or another wood blade. I do like the aluminum tape. I will probably cost wise go with that.
     
  16. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    Hey everybody here's a video on the finished version one of Johnny Mo's sword. I'm already on version two and am still quite enthusiastic.

    I don't know how to embed this video but here is the link: https://youtu.be/nQ54Tg3KkVc
     
  17. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    Well sorry guys it's been a while since I've updated you. Version 1 is finished as you've seen. I have version 2 well on the way. I figured before I take the pictures of the next part I'll put up what I wanted to do for a while.

    I wanted to do a shopping list of stuff to make Johnny Mo's swords. So Guys if you want to make it just like Drew made it here's what you'll need : :D
    Along with here's what it would cost you if you live where I do and shop where I shopped the same day I got the prices by the time anyone reads this the prices probably changed and if you leave Maine prices are probably vastly different.
    safety equipment (1).jpg Safety Equipment gloves ($14.97), eye protection ($9.97), and a mask for lung protection (6.97). The grinder went through my gloves today luckily my finger is still intact. This is what caused me to go to Lowes in the first place I took my phone along and found the stuff I bought previously. You don't want saw or metal dust in your eye or your lungs
    tools (1).jpg Tools- I have and love the dremel 3000 ($69.99). There are lots of kinds to choose from; don't go the cheapest type it won't have enough power (the dremel 100 from walmart was a waste of 35 bucks). for the project either version 1 or version 2 you will go through a grindstone ($2.98) and a pack of sanding wheel refills ($3.99). I fell in love with the ez lock system (spindle $9.98) it is a lot faster and the bits are sturdier for it. Wood cutting wheel ($15.18) is necessary for either version 1 or version 2. For version 2 with the aluminum blades the advanced metal cutting tool ($24.99) was needed as were 2 packs of the grinding wheels ($9.98 each) I also needed to pick up a compass saw ($11.98) to cut through the poplar dowel lengthwise for version 2.
    wood glue (2).jpg Wood Glue is also required to glue the sides together... self explanatory. I don't know the difference for wood glues (I went with the elmers $1.98).
    stains (2).jpg Wood finish- I used clear satin ($6.47) on version one with the 2" paint brush ($1.15). I am hoping to try finish the pickled oak ($4.77) looks right. I have to research wood finishing because I'm clueless. If I do the stain I will pick up the prestain ($4.98).
    View attachment dowels (2).jpg You may have done this before and have a full workshop full of tools and all the safety equipment you'll ever need. So lets go over the wood ingredients: the way the cutting went on the the 1.5 inch round poplar dowel ($5.15) it wasn't the greatest cutting job so i figured I'd sand down and grabbed two .75 inch square dowels ($2.84 each) for the middle.
    Version one used pine craft boards 6 of the .5"x1.5"x24" ($1.29 each) because I don't trust myself to make accurate cuts each side should be 18 inches (each side ended up being 19 inches) the other choice is to get 3 of the .5"x1.5"x36" ($1.77 each) if you are confident that you can cut the boards with very little loss of length.
    wood blades-- oak.jpg then the blades- for version 1 they had wooden blades which were two 1/4"x2"x4' oak craft boards ($3.65 each), the blades on version 2 are going to be made of two 1/4"x1"x4' aluminum flat plates ($12.91 each) if you wanted to try to make a steel blade I saw 2 weld steel plates ($8.46 each) to make something resembling a more weapony item than a prop item. If you want weapon grade steel you'll have to figure that one on your own.
    [​IMG]There is also aluminium tape if you do the wooden blades to make them shiny I found some at my girlfriends so I didn't buy any but apparently they are $3.35 a roll

    plumbing copper.jpg The 1.5" copper end caps (2 at $5.76 each)and the copper middle bands (1.5" copper coupling without stop $7.68) The picture shows the caps at the bottom, the copper coupling without stops in the middle and copper coupling (those dents in the middle I assume are the stops, but i know nothing about plumbing. That is $7.19) I got the middle one (without stops) because you can cut it into three bands if you wanted to do more than one or were worried about * one up.

    so total if you start out with absolutely zero tools, equipment, or materials Johnny Mo's swords will cost you 266.16 american dollars before tax for version 2 and $170.75. for version 1.
    Thus far I paid around $350 for mistakes and that $35 dollar dremel 100 walmart waste of time for one of each version of the swords. for the learning curve I'm not surprised or by any means disappointed.

    If you have safety equipment already subtract 31.91 off the totals
    If you already have tools stains glues and the basics the materials for version 2 will be $55.85 and version 1 can be as low as $34.24.

    I'll have progress report on version 2 in a few days everybody.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2015
  18. parfaitelumiere

    parfaitelumiere Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    good idea to make this prop too.
    I am thinking and working on bride's katana, and I admit these swords could make a very good pairing for display!
     
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  19. Damndrew

    Damndrew Member

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    I like The Bride's and Bill's and Budd's too but it seems everyone goes for those. I love that long intro in house of blue leaves where the camera slowly pans up johnny Mo's scabbarded swords. It'd be cool to go for another of Hattori Hanzo's swords from in the scene where the bride cut's the baseball in half (the red cord on black scabbard). Personal preference and/or desire to break away from the crowd for my motivations though. If you go to the trouble of making the bride's sword you'd have the requisite skill and tools to be able to make this one pretty * quick.

    Ok on to the version two progress report. I mentioned I cut the dowel into thirds and as Chaank mentioned I tried to keep the middle third as thin as I could... too thin it turns out it turned into a paper thin flakey mess really quick. so I tossed that and got two 3/4 inch square dowels. and I sanded down the circular ends so the cuts (which were originally way too rough) were smooth. Measuring today the amount I need to cut off or sand down the square dowels is 3/16s of an inch. That's a step I'll work on tomorrow. and the next time.
    wood  (4).jpg wood  (2).jpg wood  (1).jpg IMG_20150709_165239300.jpg IMG_20150709_165254621.jpg


    From the aluminum blank planes that I took pictures of last time. I cut them to to the shape of the tip and they are both down from the 4 ft to 35 inches (remember each side is 18 inches so the blade is about 17.5 per side). Then i cut and ground them till I got an edge: this was cut a > shape from a ] shape and then ground it to an edge (I'm not after sharp I'm not looking to shave with it.) then ground what I learned recently is called the distal taper (making it thinner at the point than at the base). I did that on the last one too but I wasn't up on the terminology. I still have to put holes in the tang for the pins to hold it in place. then try to smooth out the blades. That is usually done through heat but I don't have access to a forge so I'll have to try other things.
    ground blades (1).jpg ground blades (2).jpg ground blades (3).jpg

    I've cut the copper coupling w/o stops into 3 rings, two of which will be the bands in the center the length is right for them as well as the caps but they all need to be ground on the inside so that the wood can go into it with limited hammering and preferably no damage.

    copper (1).jpg copper (2).jpg

    I'm psyched about the progress. I'll keep you informed.
     
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